SEATTLE, April 27, 2023—The Museum of Flight recently released its redesigned website but doesn’t expect most people to notice anything different. “Many come to our website before they decide to visit the museum.” said the Museum’s Webmaster, Layne Benofsky, “As part of an ongoing effort to make the Museum more accessible and inclusive, we looked at our website, a primarily visual tool, and wondered if there was a way to make it more accessible. We hired Ablr 360—a consultancy that specializes in website accessibility—and discovered that some of our favorite visual elements made the site challenging for visitors using browsing-assistive tools such as screen readers. Those had to go. Not to mention 144 less-obvious areas that were flagged for various accessibility issues. Most of the changes we made will only be noticed by the people who need them.”

Guided by Ablr’s team that includes blind professionals, the Museum’s small web staff learned first-hand how people with disabilities maneuver the website. “It's one thing to implement basic industry standards for structures and layouts as we always have,” Benofsky continued, “the audit showed how some design elements fall short in the real world. It helped us fix problematic areas and showed us how to design the website for a wider audience. Gaining new skills is exciting, but it’s especially satisfying to know that our website can now truly be used by all who want to use it.

The WebAIM Million study conducted in 2021 analyzed the homepages of the top one million websites and found that only 2.8% of homepages met the most basic accessibility requirements. This suggests that the issue of web accessibility is not limited to a few outlier websites but is widespread and that inaccessibility is still a major issue, as many websites are not yet fully accessible to people with disabilities.

A 2020 study by the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that most museum websites they analyzed had accessibility issues related to color contrast, alternative text for images, and keyboard accessibility.

Specific elements that the Ablr and Museum Web teams worked on included image carousels, color contrast, alternative text and heading structure on both the Museum’s main site and the Museum Store site.

“The Museum of Flight,” said Ablr 360 cofounder Mike Iannelli, “is leading the way from an accessibility and inclusion perspective by ensuring this amazing museum, its digital properties and e-commerce store, as well as on location displays and interactive experiences are created universally for all people to enjoy. It is an absolute honor to collaborate with a wonderful, kind, and caring group of humans who want to ensure that their passion and commitment are experienced and enjoyed for everyone, no exception.”


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